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Gay black man living with HIV addresses Democratic convention

Gay black man living with HIV addresses Democratic convention
When Atlanta’s Daniel Driffin took the stage last at the Democratic National Convention, he was the first person with HIV to address the crowd since 2004. Driffin, 30, gave “voice to the thousands of black gay and bisexual men living with HIV in America” according to a coalition of HIV activists and organizations.

Following a meeting with HIV/AIDS activists in May, Clinton promised to work with them to pick an openly positive speaker for this year’s convention. But activists say they’re still waiting for word on whether the campaign will commit to their other demands.

While the coalition is grateful to Secretary Clinton for following through on scheduling a speaker and incorporating some of the coalition’s concerns in the Democratic Platform, we are still waiting for a response from the Clinton campaign regarding specific policy requests to help end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, both domestically and globally,” they said in a press release.

Driffin serves as co-chair of the Task Force to End AIDS in Fulton County, Georgia and is Youth HIV Policy Advisor for the LGBT organization Georgia Equality. He is a founder of Undetectables Atlanta, a group of over 400 gay/bisexual men with HIV.

Watch below or there’s a complete transcript on the next page.

Good afternoon. I live in Atlanta, Georgia and I serve as the co-founder of Thrive SS.

Together with more than one million Americans, I am living with HIV. When the HIV/AIDS epidemic first emerged in the 1980’s, I was not born yet. It was a mysterious virus, then a deadly one too. It seemed to be picking off gay men one by one, especially Black and Latino.

The community spoke out so that policymakers would take notice. And while summoning their voices, Hillary Clinton listened. She advocated for the increased funding for prevention and research as first lady, and then worked to increase the funding in the senate. She defended the Ryan White Care Act and expanded research in testing and education.

As secretary of state, Hillary helped to ensure that 6.7 million people around the world got access to antiretroviral therapy. And she cracked down on the stigma around the virus and helped lift the travel ban with the help of the congressional black caucus, which presented people with HIV/AIDS from entering the country.

The number of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses is on the decline in the US by nearly 20% over the last decade for certain populations.

We know how to prevent the virus now. We know how to diagnose the virus now. We know how to treat it and we know how to suppress it. We have learned all about it within my lifetime. But still, there are many living with HIV.

And do you know who is most at risk? Young gay black men. Men like me. In fact —one in two gay black men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime if current rates continue. If we have enough data, I’m sure black transgender women are more at risk too.

What can we do to fight HIV/AIDS today? We invest in research and education; expand treatment and prevention. And we elect Hillary Clinton.

With Hillary Clinton as our president, I believe that we can meet our goals of an AIDS free generation. As an organizer, as a black man, as a gay man, and as a man living with HIV, I ask you to go get tested—then go and vote. Thank you.

President Obama to Democrats: ‘I’m ready to pass the baton’

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